November 21, 2018

Espy And Farmers: Tariffs Must End

At last night’s debate Hyde-Smith again refused to condemn the harmful trade war

Cliff Heaton: “I’m a Republican, and I mostly vote for Republicans. But I also vote for the person, and that’s why I’m voting for Mike Espy”

CLARKSDALE, Miss.—U.S. Senate candidate Mike Espy met with farmers in the Delta this morning to discuss how harmful tariffs are hurting Mississippi’s agriculture industry. As the trade war continues to squeeze Mississippi’s agriculture, farmers who are frustrated with the lack of leadership from incumbent Senator Cindy Hyde Smith are looking to U.S. Senate candidate Mike Espy to stand against the trade wars.

At last night’s U.S. Senate debate, Hyde-Smith was again asked about the harmful trade war, and once again refused to condemn it.

“Agriculture and farming are the backbone of our economy, and while this trade war is devastating our livelihood, there’s been no leadership from Hyde-Smith,” said Billy Percy, a farmer in Leland. I think Cindy Hyde Smith thinks Mississippi’s soybean farmers aren’t smart enough to know that this trade war with China is being paid for by 20 percent lower soybean prices. She is wrong. They are a lot smarter than that.”

Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) stood up for Mississippi’s farmers by writing a letter to the administration about tariffs; Hyde-Smith did not sign onto the letter and has been adamant that she supports what the Republican leadership is doing on tariffs.

“I’m a Republican, and I mostly vote for Republicans,” said Cliff Heaton, who hosted today’s event at his farm in Clarksdale. “But I also vote for the person, and that’s why I’m voting for Mike Espy because he’s the best person to lead Mississippi.”

The tariffs have made a tough time even worse for farmers. Net farm income is predicted to drop by 13 percent in just one year, leaving farmers $9.8 billion short of last year’s income. Soybean farmers have been hit especially hard. Soybeans sales to China, the number one importer of American soybeans, have dropped by 94 percent this year, while prices have also dropped. According to Bloomberg, tariffs have helped push down the price for a bushel of soybeans by $2 over the course of eight months.

“The latest reports show why this trade war, which she supports, is so bad for our state,” said Mike Sturdivant III, a farmer in Glendora. “No one understands better than Mike how important agriculture is to Mississippi and our economy. As former Secretary of Agriculture, Mike will get things done for our farmers. That’s why he has my vote.”

Espy has made clear that he supports free and fair trade, and he is committed to fighting for Mississippi’s farmers.

“Our farmers know I will always put Mississippi first, no matter what a political party or person says,” Espy said. “Right now, that means speaking out about these tariffs, which are so harmful to our state. We cannot sacrifice the livelihoods of our people so that other states can benefit. We need to find a compromise that works for everyone, and if I’m elected to U.S. Senate, I will work with anyone and everyone to find the right way forward for our farmers.”